« (…) Most scientists recognize the importance of good graphics for communicating complex ideas. It’s hard to describe the structure of DNA, for example, without a diagram.
And yet, there is little if any evidence showing that good graphics are an important part of the scientific endeavor. The significance of good graphics may seem self-evident, but without evidence, it is merely a hypothesis.
Today, that changes thanks to the work of Po-shen Lee at pals at the University of Washington in Seattle who have used a machine-vision algorithm to search for graphics in scientific papers and then analyze and classify them. This work reveals for the first time that graphics play an important role in the scientific process.